Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wicked Little Vase

When I picked up this little vase back in November, I knew it was coming home with me. Renata Wadsworth's pots are like that. You love them instantaneously. They fit right into your hands... and the last thing you want to do is put them down.

We went to her holiday sale with the intention of picking up a few small pots for family members. By the time we left, we owned 4 more new Renata mugs and quite a few other pots. Enough to need a box and then some. Here's the funny part: the only gifts we gave were two small ornaments. We kept all the pots for ourselves. Is that bad?

Renata is getting ready to explore some new directions in her work this winter. Hopefully I can convince her to write about it on her blog and on Facebook. I think it is going to be amazing! Of course, after the firing, I'll be showing off the pots I come home with, right here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

How Many Potters Does It Take To Make A Mug?

When Nancy and I began making pots together as Cold Springs Studio Pottery, the first order of business was to make mugs for our upcoming wedding. The plan was that we would make the mugs for the reception. We had washing stations so that as folks finished at the reception, they could wash their mugs, and take them with them as wedding gifts fro us.

We had a few glazes that we hoped would work at cone 6 and a kiln that wasn't happy getting that hot. While I could throw the mugs, it wasn't really a group effort... so we decided to handbuild the mugs for the wedding. Aurora was five years old and was trying to figure out her role in the studio. We decided on making soft-slab mugs with impressed/stamped decoration. Each of us designed stamps to decorate with, and chops to indicate who had made what pots. After a couple evenings of making mugs, Aurora went wild on this one, and used everyone's chops AS the decoration. From this angle you can see my AS chop, Nancy's bunny chop, and Aurora's killer whale chop. 

In addition to these handbuilt mugs, we made soupmugs and a few short thrown diner mugs. I think, for our 65 guests, we made a few more than 100 mugs. There were maybe 6 pots left after our wedding.Ten years later, there are only a few of these pots left in our collection. I think two soupmugs have survived the "pre-dishwasher" stage in our house. One of the last diner mugs from this time has a good sized chip in the lip. But this mug soldiers on.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Joy Tanner's Wonderful Tumbler

One of the greatest things about reading blogs is getting to know people from different regions doing different styles of work. I met Joy Tanner through her blog about 4 years ago. I was immediately taken with her deft touch with her carving and her ability to mesh her design sensibilities with her love for atmospheric firings (wood, soda, and salt).

I think one of the things I love so much about this tumbler is the way the flashing from the firing combines
with the layers of sodium vapor glazing, to create layers of texture and color. The subtle greys and rich reds and browns really capture something that a flat, even coat of glaze could never easily accomplish. In the hand, those textures reveal perfect places to put your hands and lips. In short, it makes the use of the tumbler a very engaging experience!

This tumbler made itself at home in our kitchen immediately, though I have to admit, it is almost never in our cupboard. It winds up being constantly in use, so I mostly get to see it as it heads in and out of the dishwasher. My only regret was not buying at least three of them!

Check out Joy Tanner's blog and catch some of her pottery via her online Etsy shop!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Living With Pots

This soup mug was made by Ashley Kim. Not sure if you can make out the detail, but there is a line of red stitching around the waistline of this soup mug. Amazing feel in the hand. The recurved handle fits so incredibly well.  Ashley is having her holiday studio sale right now, so grab some pots before they are gone!

This next mug was made by Lynne Hobaica. My friend Sabra bought it for Aurora when she and I visited the Genessee Pottery in Rochester back at the end of Summer. Fantastic show! Just wish we had been there opening night so we could get more pots!

This last pot is one of my earliest bowls. Probably hadn't made two dozen bowls at this time. I thought of this as a BIG bowl when I made it. I had my daily lunch of ramen noodles in this through my second year of college. It travelled with me across the country so many times. It made the trip to WA state, to Florida, back to MA. Eventually out to UT for a long time. Finally it made it's home back here. The strangest thing about this bowl is its boring color. Honey Clear was a glaze I picked up from Vince Pitelka when I was at UMASS/amherst. It is a very VERY matte magnesium based glaze, but by adding 15% manganese dioxide to the glaze, it becomes a wonderful satin matte, with a gorgeous honey color. It feels almost like silk. Unfortunately the anemic color really killed sales. Nancy says it is quite possibly her least favorite glaze she has ever seen me use.

The other novel thing about this bowl is that is has red slate powder wedged into the claybody. A friend dug some up from the running track at Smith College... in hopes of making an oil spot glaze based on recipes from Nigel Wood. His glazes never worked out, but I used some of his red slate powder in my claybody. Shredded my fingers while trying to throw the stuff. Imagine glass in your claybody... slate is sharper! ouch.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

More Pots - returning from galleries

Alright, ask questions... whatever you want to know. Here they are. We have one more batch of pots to pick up and then that's it. Done. I'm happy to tell anyone anything they want to know about these pots. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

And then there were pots

Tangerine carved vase. Approx 6" tall.

(sorry, this one has been scooped up... gone... ZOOM!)

Both of these small serving platters are 14-16" diam. And, when they aren't in use, they can hang on the wall. Wire hangers are built into them... so they can go from the dishwasher back into the living room.

One of my last teabowls. Lime with some slip-trailed and combed decoration. The lime glaze has a very fine crackle pattern too. Sweet little teabowl.

These are the first pots we have gotten back from our consignment galleries. More images coming tomorrow (or maybe tonight!).

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Soon to Have Pots Again (seriously limited edition)

I know it sounds like an odd paradox, considering I haven't touched clay in over a year now... but we will actually be getting some pots back in hand soon. Some of the work we have had out on consignment is on its way home. In one instance, the gallery is closing due to poor sales... which given the general state of the national economy is no surprise. It is discouraging though.

Why am I mentioning this?

Because we still get calls and emails from folks wanting to pick up pots from us. I can't begin to tell you the sheer number of people who assume that somewhere out in the studio (which doesn't exist either) are the elves secretly making our work while we sleep. Nope. Isn't happening.

So to suddenly have some of our pots in hand again means we can have some to give away as gifts and some for us... and maybe, just maybe... some for you.

Once the pots are home, I'll take some pictures of them and you can judge for yourself.
Till then, we'll have to guess what pots we'll be bringing home.

Friday, September 9, 2011

New Post over at Glaze Tectonics

Tonight I posted some new images of a platter I have really missed seeing. This beastie has so much character. Even after all this time, I never tire of looking at it.

For more detail images, check out Glaze Tectonics...tons of images, stories and info about these big marvelous platters. I try to post a new platter here every few weeks. It's been a long while since I posted, and for that I apologize. Too many crises this summer, but I think we are back on track to post a few every month from now on.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Kari Smith - woodfired sculpture

When two huge boxes arrived on my doorstep, one not much smaller than a dorm fridge, I knew I was in for a surprise. After taking off layer after layer of precisely cut foam, I uncovered this phenomenal sculpture from my friend, Kari Smith. It's days like this where I love photographing other artists' work.

As much as I would like to say about this sculpture and its maker, I will stop and hope instead that the image speaks for itself.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Glazing In Anticipation of the Next Firing - Renata Wadsworth's studio

On Wednesday, Aurora and I went over to Renata Wadsworth's studio to do some portrait work while she was in the middle of her glazing. For most potters, glazing can be a very private time. I found it to be the most precarious... everything is either wet or drying, powdery glaze was always so easy to dust off on someone's hands... and the pots themselves still so fragile. For me, glazing was also fraught with the anxiety of the upcoming firing; of making sure each pot for an order was ready to fire, along with some spares... just in case; and there was always that fear of having to relinquish control to the firing.

Watching Renata glazing was almost the exact opposite. She moved like a dancer through her beautiful studio. Pots stacked on every available surface. Pots waxed and waiting for glaze. Other boards full of pots that were glazed and cleaned but waiting for the wadding that would lift them off the kiln shelf during the woodfiring. Her apprentice, Sarah, had already finished glazing for the day by the time we showed up. Aurora and I quickly developed a rhythm between us... Aurora shooting details and closeups of the finished glazed pots and some still waiting for wax, while I was off bouncing light off the ceiling as I photographed Renata hard at work.

Lined up like a family portrait, these pots are just begging for glazing and brushwork decoration!

Renata was looking inside this mug to make sure that none of the outside glaze had dripped into the inside... potentially marring the next glaze that would be poured inside, creating a liner glaze.

One of Aurora's best shots of the day... clearly illustrating the marvelous fluid line of Renata's decoration on her Shino glazed pots.

As Renata gets ready for her next woodfiring for this year, I am so anxious to see how these pots turn out. She is nearly half way to her goal for her new kiln building project. Called the Fast Fire Fundraiser, Renata and Sarah are making Radical Mugs; one of a kind mugs, with the goal of building a smaller faster woodfiring kiln to experiment with more frequently. Folks who contribute towards Renata's kiln get one of the Radical Mugs from the upcoming firings. These mugs are going to be absolutely wicked. I can't wait to see some of these new mugs post-firing.

For more information about Renata's kiln building project, please check out her Facebook page and her FB community page. If you'd like to get involved, please join in now !! Renata also takes part in the Greater Ithaca Art Trail, where over 50 artists in and around the Ithaca community open their studios to the public, during the middle two weekends in October. Some potters have kiln openings or demonstrations too! Definitely worth traveling for. See you there!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Dirty Work, with Pots Ablaze

The hard work of cleaning up from a woodfiring has to be one of the worst, most thankless jobs in ceramics. Nothing like handling sharp hot shelves, heavy brick, all covered in ash and fused bits of glaze. With dust masks on, gloved hands and eye protection, the work is slow going and SWEATY! Doing this in the Spring or Fall makes sense. And yet, so many potters fire their woodkilns in the heat of summer.

And the reason why: because when those pots come out, you quickly forget about having stood next to a kiln at two thousand plus degrees in 90F heat... all you think about is how cool the pots look.

As the kiln is slowly unloaded, shelves and bricks stacked, and pots sorted... it is time to clean off glaze drips and fused pots. Time to smooth out rough spots on the kiln shelves. Time to true up the ends of the kiln posts. Time to sweep up all the wads from off the bottoms of all the pots.

And lastly: To drink in the great pots. To bask in the glow of pots made miraculous by the wicked tongue of fire that coursed through the kiln for a day and a half. To see exactly where some pots got too close to the fire and distorted out of round. To see the smooth drips where the ash pooled and ran down the side. But most of all, to share with the other potters the awesomeness of firing with wood.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Woodfired Pots: Flashing, Ash, and WOW!

There is something very special about being asked to photograph the best pots from a potter's woodfired kiln. You know, right off the bat, that these pots have been through hell. And these, of all of them, are the ones special enough to make the cut.

These woodfired pots are more of Cary Joseph's work that I photographed at the end of May. These were fired in Julie Crosby's wood kiln. Much of the kiln had great flashing with not a ton of drippy ash to muddle the clean throwing style that Cary favors.

In many instances, I am only the second person (after the potter who unloaded the kiln,) to have ever held these pots. That is a sensational experience. To be able to run my hands over the rough surface, the ash slickened drips down the side of the pot, to feel the silkiness of the glaze inside... all transform this ball of fired clay into something magical. I always feel privileged to be asked to photograph pottery, especially when my friends are such great potters!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

New Blog for Glaze Tectonics Platters

If you haven't noticed, this blog is getting left by the wayside. I haven't really done much here since the coma a year and a half ago. Most of my effort is now spent on my photography career and my consulting/webdesign business. To that end, I decided to put all the Glaze Tectonics Platter images into one place, one format, easy to use.... wordpress blog. So here it is:

I hope folks enjoy seeing the platters as they go up. Always enjoy hearing what everyone has to say about them.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Dreaming of the Deep Blue Sea

B73098, Dreaming of the Deep Blue Sea, 1998, 18" diam., $800, available.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Another Platter Without A Name

The platter with no name, 1998, 20" diam., $600, available